I was swirling a glass of shiraz at dinner when I jokingly said, "I'm making it an early night - I'll go to one bar, but I'm not coming home at 4 am wearing someone else's shoes." Famous last words. I know better than to make simple, declarative statements challenging the universe to prove me wrong.
After dinner (and drama)en famille with the rest of the firm's litigators, some of the cool kids hopped over to the Hotel Delano. A lot of people had noted that South Beach reminded them of L.A. in terms of the vacuous pandering to appearance. I don't think I really understood what they meant until we hit the Delano. I saw people (I'd say "women", but I'm not sure) in shapes, sizes, and colors not known to Nature. There was one woman who, I swear, was the exact shade of Crayola Crayon's Burnt Sienna.
We settled around a table near the gorgeous pool. The weather was perfect, the conversation was kickin' and before you know it the lights went on, the international symbol for "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." We headed across the street to the 24-hour Cuban food joint. Trust me when I say that it was the best food I had during my entire trip to Miami. We hailed two cabs and headed back to the hotel.
And here's where the misadventure starts.
Our cabbie was .... a little odd. He didn't pull over to the curb when we hailed him, and then quietly admonished us that he could get in trouble for stopping in the middle of the street. This was a bad sign, but one we didn't really notice at the time. Hint 2 might have been when he ran the red light and nearly T-boned another car. I'll let that sink in. The best part was that he started questioning us as to what had happened. Each of us said some version of "dude, YOU had the red." At this point, he had slowed down to about 15 mph, and was sort of clutching at his chest/feeling his forehead. (He was a young guy, so no real worry of a coronary.) I realized that the situation was getting desperate, so I tried to console him and said that running reds happens to everyone at some point, etc. How insane is that? But I just wanted to get back to the hotel and get in bed.
Driving, driving, driving.....slowly realizing that the guy doesn't know where the hotel is. And that he didn't/wouldn't radio to find out where it is. Finally, the associate from NY took charge and declared that we were close enough. We piled out of the cab and started walking. Walking. Our faithful 'Papa Smurf' led us in the direction and everything was going fine until we ran smack into a fence. Ladies and gentlemen, we had to hop the fence. In my case (and Amiga's) this meant hopping a fence in a dress and heels. I hate hopping fences in the best of circumstances, and this certainly wasn't ideal.
On the beach, it was magically quiet. The ocean, the stars, the stacked beach chairs....everything just seemed still, suspended. We set up some beach chairs, and the Parisian associate stripped down to his boxers to take a swim. It turned into a game of Marco Polo, every few minutes, one of us would raise our head off of our chaise lounge and call out "Antoine?" and he'd respond from the water. The insects started biting and we gathered ourselves for the home stretch.
Finally, finally in our hotel! Amiga and I shared the elevator. When she fumbled for her room key, I told her she should just sleep on the other bed in my room - it was 6 am for pete's sake. As she pulled the key from her purse, she said that she would have just gone down to the front desk for a new one if she hadn't been able to find it. We parted ways and I sauntered down my hallway, feeling the carpet underneath my toes, dangling my heels in my left hand. I slid the key card in, and .... nothing.
So, I headed back to the elevator, down to the reception desk. I used my best model walk (head high! shoulders back!) to glide across the lobby. I imagine I was a bit of a sight: dress, heels, full makeup, sand clinging to my ankles. Not surprisingly, the desk clerk asked for picture ID. I floated back to the elevator knowing full well that I looked like a "Walk of Shame." The whipped cream with cherry on top, for me, was calling back down to the same desk clerk to schedule a wake-up call and having him say "Have a good night." We both knew it was 6:15 am!!
The next day, we found out that the other cab was back at the hotel by 4:30 am. Nice.
So what happened? I joked about not coming home at 4 am wearing someone else's shoes, and I ended up coming home at 6 am wearing no shoes at all. Lesson learned: do not thumb your nose at the universe, because it will thumb right back.